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Britain, like the U.S., is trying to extend broadband to rural areas. A United Kingdom paper reports this morning that “people who live in the countryside could face paying more for the same Internet access as those in towns and cities, the Government has admitted.” The Western Morning News reports. “Plans to ensure ‘universal’ broadband provision applies only to the speed and not the price – leaving the way open for commercial firms to target city-dwellers with better deals. Rural campaigners say the move amounts to a ‘broadband tax’ on people in the countryside.”

The British government has made a pledge similar to that made in the U.S. — that everyone would have access to broadband Internet. The UK Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw announced in June that there was a “universal obligation” to provide every citizen with two megabits per second broadband access by 2012. The British figure that 10 percent of the population doesn’t have that level of access now. Yesterday, a government spokesman said it was “possible” that rural communities would have to pay more for access.

The Country Land and Business Association has warned that “rural not-spots,” areas without broadband, could “suffocate” businesses and cut off people from services. “What we’re campaigning for is that everybody should have inexpensive high-speed broadband in the countryside and the Government should put in place policies that make that possible,” a CLA spokesman said. “We think everybody should pay the same. There shouldn’t be a broadband tax on people in the countryside because they don’t have access that people in the cities do.”

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